We have had a lot of trouble with bugs and pests in the garden this year. The basil was beginning to look sad. I salvaged what I could and made pesto to preserve what was left.
I have seen pesto sauces made with as much oil as herb. With Jan’s problem with oils I tend to go short on oil when I can. For this sauce; the oil is there just to preserve the herb, not the herb to flavor the oil.
After Dinner Note: This was still a bit oily for Jan, but she only at a little of it, even though she loved the taste. For most people this would be marvelously unctuous.
2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
½+ cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Wash and dry the basil leaves. Discard the woody stems and any discolored or seriously bug eaten leaves.
2. Chop the basil a bit and then put it in a standing blender.
3. Add the pine nuts, cheese, garlic, pepper and salt.
4. Pulse the blades of the blender and then push the leaves down with a spatula.
5. Add a quarter cup of oil to the blender and pulse the blades again until it starts to break the leaves down into a paste.
Tip: Stop the blades and push the herbs down with a spatula in between pulses.
6. Turn the blender on medium high and dribble more oil into the sauce until it is blending smoothly. Continue scrapping the sides of the blender so that all of the herbs and nuts are processed into a paste.
Tip: How much oil you add depends on your own dietary restrictions. I make mine as low fat as possible.
7. Use the sauce immediately or store it in air tight jars for later use.